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Remote PC Viewer / Controller

Date:  Wed, 20th-Oct-2004prevnext

Tags: Networking, Software, SysAdmin

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A large part of my job involves travel to clients and resellers in order to perform presentations, training or technical support. It's a considerable drain on time and resources.

For example, if I have to give a presentation in London, I'm going to lose a whole day (6 hours travel and at least a couple of hours for the presentation itself).

The problem is that while I'm out of the office I'm obviously not writing code. Furthermore, when I return to the office, it often takes a couple of hours to get back into "the zone" and pick up the threads of my development...

“minimum downtime, maximum productivity”

I've have been looking for a way to minimise this travel for some time. So, when a colleague mentioned Netviewer Corp's "one2one" collaboration software, I was extremely keen to try it out.

Yesterday, I gave my first remote presentation with a demonstration version of the Netviewer software and it worked perfectly. The presentation went without a hitch and I was able to get back to my programming immediately afterwards. Minimum downtime, maximum productivity.

The Netviewer software has some amazing features:

  • No client-side software installation: The client merely has to download a small executable (280KB) and run it. The single file can be deleted as soon as it is no longer required.
  • Easy connectivity: Netviewer works though proxies and firewall's, the client doesn't have to configure anything prior to the connection.
  • A high level of security.
  • Total control: I can control exactly what the client can see and vice versa.

Here's how it works: The client downloads and runs the Netviewer client software and I run the "consultant" application which generates a unique session ID. The client enters the session ID into his Netviewer and the two applications connect over TCP/IP.

The client then decides which of his applications he is going to allow me access to and, after making his selections, a mirror image of the chosen application(s) appears on my screen and I have immediate control of it. I can then give my presentation as if I were sat with the client. Alternatively, I can chose to let the client view an application that is running on my computer.

Netviewer screen redraws are quick and well executed, with only window moving/resizing suffering noticeable lag. Keyboard and mouse input is almost real-time.

If there is one downside to Netviewer, it is price. A single "one2one" workstation license costs $2,490 (USD). So, before I part with the cash, I want to check out the alternatives. The problem is - I don't what the alternatives are!

Do you use or know of any remote control/viewing software that I should look at?


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